Frequently Asked Questions

How To Buy The Best Home Theater Receiver
Last Updated 4 years ago

“What is the best home theater receiver I can buy for my Klipsch speakers?” That might be the most-asked question our customer service and social media teams field on a day-to-day basis.

The home theater receiver (also known as an AV Receiver or “AVR”) is rather important to a quality passive speaker setup. If the speakers are not amplified correctly you will not be getting the most out of your new toys. Furthermore, by over-driving or under-driving your speakers you risk blowing your speakers which no one wants to see happen.

The answer of “What home theater receiver should I buy?” depends on your setup, the amplification, size of the room and desired features.



CHANNELS

Before picking out a receiver or even buying speakers for that matter, you need to figure out how many channels (speakers) you will be using and whether you want to add channels in the future.

For example, it might be a wise idea to buy a 9.2 or 7.2 receiver rather than a 5.1 receiver if you think you might want to expand your system in the future. (Click here to learn how to setup a 7.1/7.2 system.)

With the new Dolby Atmos standard coming to play, you may also want to consider purchasing an Atmos-compatible home theater receiver. Klipsch will be offering speakers with built-in Atmos or separate toppers that provide Atmos-support to your existing speakers. Look for those in July of 2015.



AMPLIFICATION

Admittedly, receiver specifications are littered with lots of numbers and acronyms. Luckily, there is a general “rule of thumb” for choosing the proper wattage for your speakers.

Klipsch lists the RMS rating for all of its speakers. You can find it on the specs page under “Power Handling.” The industry standard is that you should use an amplifier that is anywhere between the RMS value and twice the RMS rating.

If you can’t find an amplifier with that exact rating, multiply the RMS power rating by 0.8 to find the lowest range of acceptable power.

Example: Klipsch Reference R-28F Floorstanding Speaker

RMS Rating: 150 watts Continuous / 600 watts Peak

Minimum (per Rule of Thumb): .8 x 150 = 120 watts.

Maximum (per Rule of Thumb): 2 x 150 = 300 watts

Acceptable Range: 120 watts – 300 watts

Anything larger is potentially excessive power. Anything smaller could cause damage from the amplifier clipping and digital distortion. Hint: that’s not good.

If you start to hear distortion from your Klipsch speakers, you need to turn down the volume immediately, as you could cause irreparable damage to your speakers.



INTERPRETING RECEIVER SPECIFICATIONS

Remember that the power amplifier output you select must be rated for the nominal impedance of the loudspeaker. In the case of the R-28F, its nominal impedance is 8 ohms.

The way Klipsch measures their specs looks like this: 150 watts per channel into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at .08% THD, with all channels driven.

If the receiver manufacturer uses any rating like (1kHz) or 1ch driven, you should be aware that this is not a true rating to compare with and you will want to look for the rating that matches the one listed above.

Unfortunately, there is no exact way to convert all of these measurements to our specifications. If you have any questions about your receiver’s ability to power our speakers, please contact our support team at 1-800-554-7724. Please be ready to provide the brand, model number and listed specifications of your receiver.



ROOM SIZE

Congratulations, you have figured out what the acceptable amplification range is for your receiver. Now, you need to figure out how much power you really need for your room’s size.

The more watts, the more easily a speaker will fill up a room. So, if you have a larger room, go for a receiver that lists a higher number of watts. If you have a smaller room, you can select a home theater receiver that is closer to the lower end of the range from the amplification rule of thumb.



FEATURES

There may be a variety of receivers that fit the power rating that you need to properly drive your speakers. This means you can then narrow down your options by deciding what features you want in the receiver. Typically, the most important receivers are the number of inputs like HDMI, WiFi, AirPlay, Bluetooth, etc.



HOME THEATER RECEIVER BRANDS

We do not prefer a certain brand of receiver over another. Why? Because there are a lot of options out there and we don’t want to play favorites. Often, the feature sets should be the defining factor between receivers that offer the same amplification.



WARNING

Consider this a disclaimer. It is entirely possible to damage a loudspeaker with an amplifier that is in the “rule of thumb” power range. Power handling depends on the type of input signal and the user – not the manufacturer – controls the input signal in actual use. Clipped signals are a death sentence to speakers, even if the clipping occurs in the mixer, equalizer or other signal processors.


You can find more info over on our blog at http://www.klipsch.com/blog/how-to-buy-the-best-home-theater-receiver


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